Stand Assessment through Lidar-Based Forest Visualization Using Immersive Virtual Environment Technology
This study examined the utility of light detection and ranging (lidar) remote sensing combined with immersive virtual environment technology for timber stand assessment. Lidar data were used to identify locations and extract dimensional information of trees in immature and mature loblolly pine (Pinas taeda, L) stands in northeast Mississippi. Computer visualized stands were built on the basis of lidar measurements and were projected with an interactive room-size stereoscopic display. Representational quality of lidar-based virtual forests was assessed through stand descriptions made by human subjects recruited from the Department of Forestry at Mississippi State University. Subjects examined either field-recorded videos or computer visualizations of immature and mature stands and estimated stocking, tree size class, height class, rotation stage, stand structure, and hardwood competition of each stand. Estimated stand characteristics by the two groups were compared. Significant viewer group differences were found in height class and rotation stage but not in other characteristics. Discussion includes how the immersive virtual environment technologies are potentially useful in natural resources management. Further study of economic aspects and interface development would be required to promote these technologies to an operational system.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2008-02-01
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